In order to insure he can keep the sense of "family" associated with the South Brunswick High football program going, the new Vikings coach is bringing his with him.
If you call out "Coach Goerge" at a South Brunswick High football game or practice, you will get a lot of reaction. Three guys are likely to turn around.
Joseph Goerge is entering his 38th year as a coach, with 31 spent as the top man in the program. Goerge, 58, is also a married man with four children. Now, he has the luxury of combining the loves of his life. Michael and Jason -- two of his four children -- will be assistants on the South Brunswick team. Michael wll work with the secondary and wide receivers. Jason will work with the linebackers and offensive line.
"It's an unbelievable experience," Goerge noted of working with his children. "There's no question that the family atmosphere is the way we have approached building a program. It's worked out well."
Goerge even felt a connection to the South Brunswick program of the past as he and Rick Mantz -- the coach who left after guiding the Vikings to a 10-1 season in 2011 -- are longtime friends.
Goerge has gotten a chance to make a lot of friends in football. That will happen when you make different stops and coach for 38 years. A sense of enthusiasm also helps.
"Coaching is something you have to be passionate about," Goerge noted. "I feel the same way now that I did when I started, At the center of everything is the player/coach experience."
This couldn't be more true in the case of Goerge, who was invited to be an assistant by his former high school coach at Mt. Sr. Farrell in Staten Island when he was just 20 years old.
"It was all she wrote after that," Goerge noted. "Now, over the years, I have had former players come back and coach for me. I love it."
Goerge's first head coaching job came at Port Richmond High School in Staten Island. From there, he went to Franklin High School from 1992-2004. Goerge guided Franklin to three state titles games, winning Group III championships in 1994 and 1996.
Before taking the job at South Brunswick, Goerge was the coach at Dayton High School. He took on the unique situation of coaching at a school that didn't have a football team for several year. Dayton started back as a JV team in 2005, Goerge's first year there. He coached through last season.
Goerge resigned from Dayton last December, hoping to get back to coaching "at a bigger school program." Goerge was starting to think he might have to sit out his first season in decades when the South Brunswick job opened.
"The South Brunswick job was the only one I interviewed for," Goerge said.
Hey, when things work out, they work out.
"From a football standpoint, everything was in place," Goerge said. "Rick (Mantz) has done a wonderful job with the program. We have great kids. We have great facilities. There is tremendous parent support. There is a great middle school and a fantastic Pop Warner program."
Added to the mix, Goerge will teach phys-ed at South Brunswick and will have two of his chlidren as assistant coaches.
"Quite honestly, it's just a great situation," Goerge said.
"Being able to teach at the school is critical. This is especially true in a big school like South Brunswick. It's a necessity."
Not only does it help with commuting and practice times, being a teacher at the school reinforces that Goerge and his boys -- the ones he parented and the ones he inherited this season -- are all part of the same family at South Brunswick High.
This group is working toward the season opener on Friday night at 7 p.m. at East Brunswick.
While change is inevitable for any high school team -- especially one with a new coach -- South Brunswick is getting a pretty good makeover.
"We lost eight or nine starters on both sides of the ball," Goerge noted. "It's certainly a challenge, but we have guys ready to step up. There are guys that have committed and grown with the program. Now, it's their time."
It's the players time. It's also the time for Coach Goerge . . . all three of them.
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